Ad Infinitum Review
Extra Features: N/A
Ad Infinitum is a psychological war-time horror game developed by German developer, Hekate. Ad Infinitum is a very unique horror game that we don’t usually experience. War-time horror is often unexplored in the psychological horror genre, so its theme is definitely a breath of fresh air. War-time horror has so much potential with the idea of post-traumatic stress that soldiers deal with after experiencing the horrors of war and Ad Infinitum constantly delves into that category quite well. Ad Infinitum does an overall good job with its presentation and narrative, but it definitely has its problems at its core.
Ad Infinitum takes place during World War I. Players take on the role of a German soldier that is continually haunted by the stress of the current war. The game shifts between your family’s home and the trenches of the battlefield. Instead of visions of the horrors of war, the battlefield is loaded with frightening creatures. While not on the battlefield, your character will return to his home and deal with family drama. The main character is in a constant struggle of trying to deal with both the madness of the battlefield and trying to piece together his own life’s narrative. This game has the type of story that gets better once it ends. It’s the type of story that will make you want to seek out plot analysis's after finishing it.
This game has some fantastic graphics, especially when it comes to creature design. These creatures look so very creepy. A lot of creativity went into these designs. They truly are the stuff of nightmares. The overall appearance of the battlefield is quite good as well. Explosions, gunshots and soldiers’ screaming are all constant when in the trenches. Your family’s house looks exquisite yet disturbing at the same time. The house has many dark corridors and hidden creepy areas.
A constantly recurring object in the game is barbed wire and the game does such a great job in making it seem creepy. Barbed wire often blocks areas that you can’t navigate through. Your character will be hurt if you touch it. The barbed wire has a creepy movement to it at times as if it’s alive.
When it comes to gameplay, for the most part, Ad Infinitum is your run-of-the-mill walking simulator. You’ll be walking and collecting notes quite a bit. There is some variety in escaping from enemies and solving puzzles, but walking around and exploring is your main gameplay type. Each enemy has a gimmick that you have to use to exploit it. For instance, the first enemy type finds you based on hearing your movement, so you have to move silently and make noise in certain places to distract the enemy. Puzzles are few and far between. Many puzzles involve finding a certain passcode in order to progress. Boss battles are quite nice. All bosses are like puzzles – you have to find their weakness and exploit it over and over.
Ad Infinitum very rarely tries to jump scare you much at all, which I actually appreciate because I find jump scares as a cheap way to scare the player which doesn’t lead to true fear. Besides some VERY horrific creatures and good overall atmosphere, the game just isn’t that scary. It’s more boring than scary thanks to the gameplay. The majority of the gameplay involves walking. You can’t run all that much since your character only has a certain amount of stamina before you have to recharge. I’ve never had such a problem with walking and collecting documents as I did with this game. It’s just so constant in this game with little variety. I play many horror games and am used to this type of gameplay, but with Ad Infinitum it just felt like too much to the point where it beat Layers of Fear in that style of gameplay. The majority of the game’s levels felt overly drawn out with little reward as to the full chapter completion.
This game also has many random technical difficulties that can occur. I would sometimes have objectives that I couldn’t fulfill from not being able to interact with objects. Thankfully, a reset solved this. There was one part where I was chased by an enemy and had to go through a certain doorway, but the door was closed, which allowed the chasing enemy to kill me every time I restarted my checkpoint. The enemy was so fast that I didn’t have time to open the door. I eventually seeked out a YouTube video to help with this and found out that the door is supposed to be open. After a reset, in which I had to restart the entire level, I got to the door again and, for some reason, was able to open it before it was even supposed to be unlocked. After opening it, a sequence played of the same creature chasing me (which I hadn’t even run into yet) and it ended the level. So there we have it, I restarted an area because of a bug and got through it quicker thanks to a new bug! It’s like this game has some sort of auto-save issue to where the auto-save messes with progression.
The sound and overall sound effects are good for this game, but I just feel like some sound effects are missing at times. There was one part where a creature broke out of a cage and him coming out of the cage had very little sound. I’ve run across other situations such as this also. It’s hard to tell if the sound is bugged or just the actions don’t have sound.
Ad Infinitum is honestly a game that I want to like, but I just can’t truly enjoy it. I feel like I should like it, especially when thinking back about the story experience and overall visuals. The game feels like a passion project with the extra attention given to enemy designs and the overall cryptic meaning in the story. It’s honestly something I would like to enjoy. The overall gameplay kept me bored constantly however. And when I wasn’t bored with the gameplay, technical difficulties caused me to get quite frustrated. I really have to ask the question if this game was tested much because it doesn’t seem like it was with all the randomness in its problems. The game has multiple endings and collectibles so there is a bit of replay value there. Either way, if you can make it past all the problems that I had, you might find something to enjoy in the game’s narrative and other positive areas. I’m a very forgiving person when it comes to horror but this game broke me even with it’s good points. It was hard to continue playing at times with all the technical issues I experienced.
+ Really good graphics with some fantastic creature detail
+ Good atmosphere
+ Overall interesting narrative and theme
- Technical difficulties can lead to much frustration (mainly bugs with objectives)
- The gameplay feels boring very often (SO very much walking and picking up notes)
- The sound effects feel like they are missing during some sequences
- The game is rarely frightening. It just doesn’t have much suspense to it to keep me involved for long.
Final Rating: 60% - I really want to like Ad Infinitum more than I do, but it has too many faults that ruin the experience.
Note: A review code for this game was provided by the publisher.